Staff Reporter  

A feasibility assessment for a project designed to mainstream climate change in Bhutan’s water sector began yesterday.

The project titled Building Climate Resilient Water Resources in Bhutan aims to incorporate changing climatic conditions into planning and strengthening the adaption capacity of vulnerable communities to climate change.

The project, supported by the Food and Agriculture Organisation in collaboration with the government, will be implemented in Lhuentse, Mongar, Pemagatshel, Samdrupjongkhar, Trashigang, and Trashiyangtse along the Drangmechhu river basin to improve the climate resilient basin management and adaptive resilience.

The development of the national capacity to scale-up river basin management will be implemented across the country.

Of 6,555 water sources in the country, 2,317 (35 percent) are drying up while 147 sources have dried up, a study by the Watershed Management Division of the forest department revealed in 2021.

According to a press release from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Bhutan, the feasibility assessment will confirm the project activities and location based on the outputs of the mission in alignment with the Water Flagship Programme and identify watershed issues and spring shed recharge for management interventions.

The assessment will also study risks and mitigation measures for environmental and social safeguards, and discuss institutional arrangements for project implementation and management.

The feasibility mission which began yesterday will end on December 6.

After the feasibility mission is complete, FAO will prepare and submit a proposal worth USD 36.1 million to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) Secretariat.

The GCF proposal is supported by FAO investing USD 358,000 for project preparation and USD 134,000 for preparing climate rationale by Deltares, an independent knowledge institute for applied research in the field of water and subsurface based in the Netherlands.